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Severe hailstorm decimates apricot crop in Spain

A severe hailstorm struck Murcia, Spain on May 2, 2022, causing major damage to the apricot crop. The Region of Murcia is located in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula and produces two-thirds of Spain’s apricot. The storm comes one month after early April frost caused massive damage to stone fruit in Ebro valley, one of the most important producing areas of sweet fruit in Europe.

Farmers in the Mula River and Murcia’s northwest regions have been forced to write off the entire apricot season following a severe hailstorm on Monday which not only resulted in the loss of the fruit, but also caused widespread damage to trees.1

“Practically 100% of the crop has been destroyed, affecting millions of kilos of fruit,” Antonio Moreno of the agricultural union UPA told La Verdad.

José Miguel Marín of the agricultural organization COAG said although it is too early to give an accurate assessment of the damage, losses are in the millions because the fruit and the trees themselves have been lost.

The storms struck just as harvesting of early season varieties was due to get underway, Maura Maxwell of Fruitnet said.

Elsewhere, Catalan fruit association Afrucat said the region will lose 67% of its apricot harvest compared to the 2021 campaign, while in Aragon the losses are running at 85%, leaving a production volume of 2 97 and 2 988 tonnes, respectively.

Afrucat added that these figures do not take into account the impact of the most recent frosts, which in some areas has resulted in 100% of the crop being damaged.

According to the association, Spain will produce the lowest volume o fruit in the last 40 years because of the damage caused by the frost in early April, especially in stone fruit in the Ebro valley, one of the most important producing areas of sweet fruit in Europe, as well as in Catalonia and Aragon.2

References:

1 Hail and frost decimate Spanish apricot crop – Fruitnet.com – May 4, 2022

2 Spain will produce its lowest volume of fruit in the last 40 years – FreshPlaza.com – May 4, 2022

Featured image: AGF Nederland

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